Saturday, October 25, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Skeptical on immigration reform

navarrette column sig

By
From page A7 | January 31, 2013 |

SAN DIEGO — Something is not right in Washington. Suddenly a lot of powerful people on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are grabbing hold of the “third rail.”

That’s the term Rahm Emanuel – former U.S. representative, White House chief of staff and now mayor of Chicago – used to describe the immigration issue when he was the top lieutenant for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

President George W. Bush started this conversation in September 2001, when he suggested fixing the country’s arcane immigration laws.

Emanuel worked hard to keep the issue off Congress’ agenda because he didn’t want to aggravate the split in the Democratic Party between Latinos who want to legalize illegal immigrants and union members who don’t. He also didn’t want to put conservative Blue Dog Democrats in the tough spot of having to support what they considered an “amnesty.”

Meanwhile, Republicans were happy to stay away from the subject because they didn’t want to inflame the divide in their party between businesses that want workers and nativists who worry about changing demographics. GOP leaders also didn’t want free-market conservatives to have to oppose legalization just to please the restrictionists.

And so it went for 10 of the past 12 years, with immigration reform placed so far on the back burner that it fell off the stove. Congress took up the issue in 2006 and 2007, but Democratic leader Harry Reid ran that debate into the ground. He brilliantly scuttled reform bills to please organized labor, then pinned the blame on Republicans, which wasn’t hard to do given how clumsily the GOP handles the immigration issue.

Now President Barack Obama and bipartisan coalitions of lawmakers in both the House and Senate appear to be in a terrible hurry to pass an immigration reform bill.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., one of the loudest voices in Washington on this issue, told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that he expects legislation to pass by Labor Day.

So after avoiding the issue for more than a decade, lawmakers want to piece together a deal in just a few months.

Immigration reform groups are mobilizing to rally support for what seems to be a promising plan in the Senate. Like any good compromise, it was immediately attacked by the far right for going too far and by the far left for not going far enough.

Proposed by a bipartisan group of eight senators, the plan would fix the current system by doing four things: creating a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants; making legal immigration more efficient with an emphasis on retaining high-skilled immigrants; tightening restrictions and penalties on employers to prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants; and launching a temporary guest worker program.

In the House, another bipartisan group of lawmakers – which includes Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. – is working on a similar piece of legislation.

In a speech Tuesday in Las Vegas, Obama praised the Senate plan. Yet he reportedly wants the pathway to citizenship to be quicker and easier.

Republicans won’t go for this quick path because it would result in more people earning citizenship and they have no interest in registering voters for the other side.

Still, it’s a whole new game. Or is it? As I said, something is not right.

The accepted narrative is that both parties have suddenly decided to tend to this issue as a way of courting Latino voters, who support comprehensive immigration reform.

Nonsense. Democrats have nothing to lose and Republicans little to gain.

Obama doesn’t owe Latinos a thing. In his first term, his administration deported more than 1.5 million people – most of them Latino – and Latino voters still helped re-elect him with 71 percent of their votes. We’re a cheap date.

Say, this might not be a new game after all. This could be the old game, where both parties go through the motions and nothing gets done. But they get credit for trying.

Here’s the play: Ask for the moon and stars. The other side will object. The deal crumbles. Well, we tried. See you in 10 years. This way you avoid angering the part of your constituency that doesn’t want immigration reform. And you can go back to your constituents that do want reform and blame the other side for not getting it done.

Why am I so skeptical? Experience. Neither party has operated in good faith on this issue for more than a decade. Why start now?

Ruben Navarrette is a columnist for U-T San Diego. Reach him at ruben@rubennavarrette.com.

Ruben Navarrette

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • PatriotJanuary 31, 2013 - 5:35 am

    Politics my friend, politics...It is a chess game that is played everyday in our federal government!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895February 01, 2013 - 11:30 am

    Obama kept the Latino vote because Latinos agree with the deportation policy--focus on the bad actors and leave others alone. The reason Republicans couldn't figure that out is because they have played out the lie that illegal immigrants suck up resources (instead of contributing to their creation) and maybe they even vote (for the Democrats who pay them off with benefits). That translates into taking more of their money in taxes. Why make up stuff like this? It's because conservatives like America the way it is, or was, in their own mind. Once Republicans separate themselves from the conservatives and find a way to embrace change, they will be a more formidable oppontent to the Democrats.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895February 01, 2013 - 11:57 am

    Like the deportation policy, I believe Latinos would also agree to a change in the rules regarding birthright citizenship. If presented the right way, I’ll bet 90%+ of all Americans would agree to a change. The only reason it hasn't happened is until relatively recently, it hasn’t been an issue, and each party now believes it will get beat up by the other party if they propose a change first. I hope the compromise group adds birthright citizenship to their present proposals; it's a golden opportunity to do something while the two parties have agreed to a truce of sorts. It will require an amendment to the Constitution, but I'll make another bet, that if Congress sends an amendment to the states, it would be ratified in less than 18 months. All the amendment would have to say is ALL definitions of citizenship shall be pursuant to laws passed by Congress. Birthright citizenship would not go away, but it would be a subject of statutes, not the Constitution. My guess is Congress would, as a minimum, provide for birthright citizenship for all children born in the United States or land under U.S. jurisdiction overseas if both parents are U.S. citizens. Birthright citizenship at present is in the 14th Amendment, one of the post-Civil War Reconstruction Amendments, to ensure citizenship to all the freed slaves without further ado. For the same reason, the 14th Amendment takes other definitions of citizenship away from the states and puts them in the hands of Congress. The original purpose of constitutional birthright citizenship has long since passed, and now it is time to put all definitions of citizenship in federal hands, where they belong.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
 
No new murder trial for Calkins, judge rules

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Optimist Club brings youth together for Halloween golf

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Cut-a-thon to help fight cancer, abuse

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Fall Harvest Festival brings children back to school

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

School board candidates forum set next week

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
Haunted hikes offered for brave souls at park

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Staying active may prolong your life

By Scott Anderson | From Page: B8

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

.

US / World

Suspect arrested in death of 2 California deputies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
KC-10 from Travis lands in Houston, smoke in cockpit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Reagan astrologer, Joan Quigley, dies at 87

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Jury says castrated sex offender should be freed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Remains belong to missing Virginia student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Dallas nurse receives thanks, hug from Obama

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

School gunman was Homecoming prince, students say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Lava creeps toward road on Hawaii’s Big Island

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

NY, NJ order Ebola quarantine for doctors, others

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Gunman in Canada attack complained about mosque

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Egypt declares emergency in northern Sinai

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Militant group said to be using chlorine bombs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Putin accuses US of undermining global stability

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Opinion

Return Garamendi to Congress

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoons: Oct. 25, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

SEIU shouldn’t own Board of Supervisors

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Vote, and make a difference

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Yes on Measure A

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Spering best choice for county supervisor

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 25, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
My mother-in-law wants me to convert to Catholicism, but I don’t want to

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

Hello Kitty turning 40, and the birthday bash will be ‘supercute’

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

 
TLC cancels its ‘Honey Boo Boo’ series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

P.D. James’ riff on Jane Austen comes to TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

Vintage rolls past Armijo, 55-8

By Mike Corpos | From Page: B1

 
Mustangs fall flat in rout by Wildcats

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

Royals beat Giants 3-2 for 2-1 World Series lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vargas to take on Vogelsong in Game 4 of Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Falcons hang with Wolves in 34-8 setback

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Hamilton helps Vanden sink Vallejo, 35-0

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

Unfazed, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh doing it his way

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lloyd leads US women past Mexico 3-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders’ Woodley, Young expected to be placed on IR

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Henley’s putting gets him lead at Sea Island

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Judge halts New Jersey’s sports betting plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Joe Maddon exercises opt-out, won’t return to Rays

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jamie McMurray bests Chase drivers to win pole

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Attorney: NFL, Ravens not helping union in Rice probe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

SCC women’s soccer team falls to Mendocino 3-1

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

US official: Auto safety agency under review

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Ford profit falls in third quarter on truck costs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Procter & Gamble taking out its batteries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
UPS expects double-digit surge in Dec shipments

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

US new-home sales close to flat in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Melvin Tate

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Mark Dean Lindsay

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Dr. Robert M. Takamoto

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 10/25/14

Real estate transactions for Oct. 25, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2